Saturday, June 22, 2019

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Various Authors - Write Your Mind

Write Your Mind is a play about Youth Mental Health, weaving together monologues devised by writers with young people. The play was devised by the JIGSAW Offaly Service in partnership with Offaly Youth Theatre, with Eugene O’Brien as Writing Consultant and Angela Ryan Whyte as Director.

The result is a powerful collage of experience, from friendship to anxiety attacks, bereavement, relationships at home, wild parties, job interviews, pranks, and the never-ending struggle with social media.The monologues featured are:School Tour by Lorna Kelly Dalton, performed by Eimear Regan.Man Up, with concept by Andrew Joseph Brown and adapted for stage and radio by Ali Scanlon, performed by Adam Cooper.

The Help by Niall Cleary, performed by Helen Brady.Make Up Your Mind by Rory Duffy, performed by Jamie Nolan.
The Mystery of the Missing Mars Bar by Caroline Bracken, performed by Emma Cranston.
Director: Angela Ryan Whyte
Writing Consultant: Eugene O’BrienSound Supervision and Sound Design: Ciarán Dunne and Ruth KenningtonProducer for RTÉ: Kevin Brew
Series Producer: Kevin Reynolds.Note from Mike Mansfield, Head of Communications and Fundraising, JIGSAW.Jigsaw is a free mental health support service for young people aged 12-25 situated in the heart of 13 local communities across Ireland. We provide a range of supports to young people and the adults in their communities, including one-to-one therapy sessions with young people, and group work with, parents, school teachers, health professionals and more. In line with Jigsaw’s vision of an Ireland where every young person’s mental health is valued and supported, all Jigsaw services work to improve the mental health outcomes for young people and develop mentally healthy and supportive communities that can continue to thrive long after our work is done.

Not the usual type of play I post but one that is worth hearing.  The RTÉ site says that if you are experiencing some of the problems described in the plays, you should contact Samaritans or other emergency help.  Here is the site for Jigsaw in Ireland,  this is the site for Samaritans in the United States.   I know there are listeners here from other countries but I don't know which ones to post for those. 

Hate Mail - More Of An Answer Than The Comment Deserves But I'm Feeling Generous Today

The God revealed in the Bible is filtered through human imagination.
Walter Brueggemann

That idea isn't at all rare among those who believe in God, though there are certainly people who never think about it hard enough to realize that's exactly what the Bible, in fact, all scripture is.  It's my experience it's far more commonly realized among religious people than it is realized among atheists of the modern area that science, mathematics, etc. are physical phenomena and the abstraction of numbers and their properties are, to EXACTLY the same extent,  filtered through human imagination.  We couldn't possibly articulate the first idea about anything without imagining it first, words, themselves, are a human invention in order to act as that tertiary filter that can articulate what we imagine, what we think about what we perceive. perception being the first filter of the world external to our minds but secondary to our own perception of our minds.

It is one of the consequences of modernity, of scientism that people imagine science as a direct expression of the physical universe when such a direct access to external reality is not possible.  Among those who work in science but who maintain that false conception of what science is, what it does, its most basic vicissitudes, exigencies and limits, show the shocking extent to which one is allowed to make a career in science, to gain what is mistaken as authority in science while not having grasped or taken seriously the most basic foundations of its theoretical construction.   Descartes and Bacon, among those who invented modern science and scientific method, were explicitly trying to reproduce in natural philosophy the level of reliable certitude achievable in pure mathematics, mathematics being the rigorous logical analysis of numbers and their properties and operations on them - which are all knowable only as imaginary entities.  The irony of modern scientism of the sort that regularly derides religion based on its imaginative practices is that its very language, mathematics, is the most obviously pure practice of imagination, through which all of scientific method is performed.  

So, no, I'm not in the least bit troubled that some peoples' imaginations lead them to other conclusions about God.  I have made the choice to recognize what I believe is the superior record of imagining God as found in the Jewish scriptures and its children, Christianity and Islam while respecting that God has not cut off other people whose imaginations have led to other articulations of God - a rather surprising number of those I'd been told and I believed were "polytheistic" turn out to be not that different from the Monotheism of Christianity that believes in saints and angels.  A lot of that "polytheism" turns out to be an imaginative extension of what is, at its most central level, monotheism.  The key difference between the gods of Greek mythology and the God which the Jewish scriptures articulate is that the gods of the Greeks were created creatures subject to physical or fatalistic forces whereas the Jewish imagination gets to a God who is not so subjugated, not created.   

Another difference, one of the most crucial ones for me, is that the God of the Bible is the most potent origination point of egalitarian democracy.   I see that and it is one of the most important reasons that I believe based on my experience and observation of life. 

The Comparison Of The Trump Sexual Assault And, Now Rape Scandals With The Naughtiness of Anthony Weiner Etc.

Since E. Jean Carroll's recent accusation that Donald Trump violently sexually assaulted her, Trump lying about ever having met her when there is at least one picture of them together, I believe the 24th Woman to have said Donald Trump did to them exactly what he bragged is his method of sexual assault in the tape of his conversation with Billy Bush which came out before the 2016 election, it's clear that there are probably more women who support the claims that he is a serial sexual assaulter, just as he bragged of being.  

Compare the Republican media in the United States' handling of the accusation of violent sexual assault to, first, this incident of Boris Johnson's neighbors calling the police to a violent fight between him and his girlfriend he lives with as described by the erudite and reasonable Phil Moore, in which the neighbors who not only called the police to the incident, which was so loud and so angry that thy were able to record it at, apparently, clearly audible levels from their own apartment and, I would expect, the media that they leaked it to. 

Now, also compare how the violent sexual assault that Trump is accused of by women willing to put themselves through the wringer through, to the infamous but far less serious CAREER ENDING scandal that the Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner called down on himself by sending entirely non-violent, mutually consensual sexting pictures of himself which was treated as a far more serious scandal than Trump's sexual assaults and, if Ms. Carroll's description is accurate, rape, is handled.   If the media had treated the original Trump scandals seriously, first the release of him bragging about being a sexual assaulter to Billy Bush, then multiple women confirming that he did exactly what he bragged about doing to them and, now, this latest one, Donald Trump would never have been in the presidency, wracking up the record as, demonstrably, the worst president in our history with the full support of Republicans in the Congress, outside of Congress, in the Republican oriented media that has not disowned and opposed him.  Clearly, as can be seen in the case of the oafish Boris Johnson, right-wing politics and media are willing to have these men in the highest positions of power.

Thinking this week about Trump and how "originalists" who claim a devotion to the intentions of the "founders" that overrides any possible progress in learning and wisdom having been gained in the 232 years of testing the Constitution as it originally came out of them proves how, not only hypocritical but entirely stupid the ideology of American conservatism is.  I mean, to formally adopt the position that you are to learn nothing from experience of the hardest sort which a bad administration, a bad Congress, a demonstrably corrupt and sleazy Supreme Court a misled or corrupted electorate has delivered, numerous times in our 232 year history of the Constitution is an obviously stupid and corrupt position that parades itself as a principle.   It is based in the hagiographic lies that nationalistic civics and history is so often corrupted with, the kind of thing that a reverence for slave owners and self-interested merchants, the cheapest form of American "patriotism" is constructed of. 

It is certainly a symptom of the corrupt motives of American conservatives that they, in their allegedly highest levels of pricipled adherence to the Constitution, the pretenses of "originalism" or "patriotism" are willing to impose and keep the stupidest, most corrupt, most blatantly self-indulgent AND CRIMINAL man in the office of the presidency, someone who  was not even put there by the majority of Voters but by a combination of lies peddled through the media BY FOREIGN AS WELL AS DOMESTIC GANGSTERS and who is dangerously running the United States into the ground.  And the whole thing is covered by the flimsiest of transparent rotted cheese cloth.  The kind of stuff that Trump is hoping will come out of the Republican-fascist majority on the Supreme Court and lower courts, the kind of lofty lies that Republicans and conservatives in the legal profession specialize in peddling. 

The slogans of conservatism, of Republican, Trumpian conservatism have to be turned into the disreputable jokes they are.  Whenever someone says "originalism" "the founding fathers" etc. they should be laughed at in the mockery those terms deserve. 

I hope later this week to attack such "originalism" in a longer piece.  


Trump should always be considered to be a product of the corruption intentionally put into the Constitution in the form of the Electoral college which, in its history has produced four presidencies,  those of John Quincy Adams, Rutherford Hayes, George W. Bush and Donald Trump.  If you wanted to argue that John Quincy Adams was, in fact, superior to Andrew Jackson, I would grant you that.  Jackson's viciousness and ruthlessness, what made him the favorite of the slave states, was something Adams noted as he offered him the Vice Presidency - on the basis that he would be powerless to kill anyone from that position.  Is it any wonder that Trump and Mnuchin want to keep Jackson on the $20 instead of one of our greatest beacons of freedom, Harriet Tubman? 

But the other three cases prove that in at least three out of four of those instances in which the loser of the election won the presidency, The People got it right whereas the "fonders" installed some really horrible losers into the presidency.  That all three of them did things that promoted racists and their interests might prove the "wisdom" of the "founders" but only that their corruption of democratic process to prevent democracy prevailing works for that corrupt purpose.  It putting Adams who, in his later Congressional career became the champion of abolition, into the presidency is an historic irony, though Adams was never that much of an abolitionist until he became a member of the House of Representatives.  

We've got to get rid of the disastrous Electoral College and we really need to replace the unpleasant reality about the "founders" and the dangerous parts of the Constitution they wrote which have had such continuing and horrific consequences for us, today. 

The Maine Legislature which was expected to vote to join the interstate compact to bypass the Electoral College failed to do that, narrowly in the House.  the Maine Senate had earlier passed it. The argument made against it was that Maine gained something by having a measly four electoral votes, some imagined advantage in relation to other states, some of which, having only three, one would imagine have more of an advantage over larger states, including, marginally,  Maine.  Such stupidity and obvious anti-democratic corruption - what else does such an "advantage" consist of? -  is a vice related to that mentioned above. 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Don't Care

Don't care.  Almost the last adults left Geritol Atol in about 2012, I know, I stayed too long, I should have left seven years earlier.  Duncan Black isn't even pretending much anymore.  They're as in the past as those events I wrote about not caring about earlier in the week. 

So Many Crises So Many Other Things To Not Care About - Stupid Hate Mail

Trump and his crime gang are still holding babies in for-profit prison camps, children as young as three and younger left to be cared for by young teenage girls incarcerated with them, left in dirty clothes, without diapers, without adequate food and water, getting sick with influenza and God only knows what else.  Given that, I couldn't give less of a fuck about a bunch of atheists stupid enough to bring that concrete cross case publicity stunt* in the 2019 Roberts Court - did the asses really believe they were going to win? - losing as anyone smarter than a "Humanist" (apparently) would have known would happen.  Let me know when it kills someone like the Trump regime is and is apparently going to start doing in a war with Iran.  I don't care much more about that ruling than I do The Passion of The Rosenbergs - version the infinity. 

*  You really know when a group is useless when it brings publicity lawsuits it is obviously going to lose so they can whine and complain about how put-upon they are, how their feelings are so hurted by an inanimate object that is no clear and present danger to anyone who doesn't go close enough to have pieces of it fall on them.  

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Hate Mail - Meh!

The concrete cross case?   I'd forgotten all about it.  Things are going to hell, there are more important things to do than think about atheist groups' publicity lawsuits.  I read the excerpts from RBG's dissent and can't disagree with anything she said in it but it's nothing I'm going to spend any time worrying about.  Has it killed anyone in the 95 or so years the thing has been up?  

Hate Mail

Atheism has been part of the process of people stuck in places like Madison, Wisconsin, Girad, Kansas, Orono-Bangor*, Maine and, especially among the pretentious kewlsters of New York City to pretend they were kewel radicals saying outrageously transgressive things that would make people think they were kewel.  What it was was them saying stupid stuff that impressed mostly others of their kind and most other people ignored.  It's also part of math deficient people in the humanities and other non-kewel science fields to pretend they're hep to science when they're not.  As I've pointed out, the irony of that is that those guys turn science into a pious observance reliant, not on understanding, but appeal to authority, their faith making it next to impossible for them to understand what they're doing.  

It's also been the resentment of creepy boys who figure that if only those girls who refuse them were atheists they'd have sex with them - I think that was a big part of it with many a college faculty heathen.  See Also: "Elevatorgate". 

What it isn't is a sign of intellectual power.  As I've said, Hans Kung, Elizabeth A. Johnson, Walter Brueggemann, Marilynne Robinson, etc. are great intellectuals, especially as compared to the "Bright" lites of atheism.  I mean, Dennett, one of their higher power intellectuals tried to popularlize atheists taking on that name, "Brights" which was one of the stupidest ideas of the last quarter century.  

*  When I was in college I wrote a word-jazz style piece about Bangor hipsters that I wish I still had.  I'd like to know if it still worked.  I wonder if there are still Bangor hipsters. 

Update:  Big deal.  I played live on Radio Po-Go probably about the same time you recorded that crap.  I got over it, you're still imagining it's your big chance.   I imagine it was part of their oldies nostalgia, neuralgia show or something.  Geezer rockers trying to remember where they left their little blue whoopie pills for 60 year old groupies.  It's rock'nroll or rather hawk and drool.   

I'd rather hear Down Memory Lane with Toby L.  And I don't listen to that, anymore. 

Update 2:  "When you work for a low powered station that doesn't make money you have to fill lots of air time with free shit."   A friend who has managed a low power radio station.  I just ran this past him, he chuckled. 

Update 3:  I think you should get checked for presbycusis.  I think when you think someone was saying you were a "cool cat" what they really said was that you're a "coot prat". 

Issue Subpoenas For Public Testimony Enforce The Ones Flouted Jail Those Who Are In Contempt Of Congress

I have been totally supportive of the House leadership conduct of the investigation into the Trump regime crimes up till now, but with Hope Hicks' antics of yesterday, they are really risking blowing it.  

Jerrold Nadler, who I have deep respect for is proving that he doesn't really get how this can be done effectively, perhaps that is the result of him running in one of the very safest of districts for him.  His voters are already there, he seems to have little idea of how to get more voters in more Congressional districts to see through the Trumpian crimes that will lead to stopping them and holding the criminals accountable.   He seems to have the idea that that will be accomplished by nice, neat orderly legal practices more appropriate to a court in which a judge will be making a decision, I don't think his process would work very effectively with a jury, it certainly won't work to do what needs to be done. 

Perhaps that same phenomenon of a great person but who, being from an entirely safe seat, something that she, herself has noted, leads Nancy Pelosi to a reticence that leads her to not agree to opening this as an explicitly named impeachment inquiry.   While I agree with her that the exercise of an impeachment is futile with the Republican-fascist control of the Senate, the use of an impeachment inquiry could be used to attack their part as accomplices and protectors of the Trump regime.   Nancy Pelosi is concerned about losing members holding marginally held districts, at this point she's risking discouraging loyal Democrats who are already there. 

At the very least it's time to compel people like McGahn, Hicks to testify,fully, in public, on TV,  it's time haul their asses into court and ordered to testify, knocking down the obstruction of the Trump regime and its lawyer thugs.  It's time to enforce contempt against Mnuchin, Barr and the rest of those who are already in contempt of Congress, it's time to arrest them.   If anyone thinks Mnuchin will care about the highest fine that the Congress is going to press against him, they should think again.  

The courtly timeline of the leadership in Congress is already risking backfiring against Democrats and democracy, the t's have been crossed, the i's have been dotted, the commas and apostrphes are all in the right places.  The time of laying out a case that this is obstruction of a legal and Constitutionally mandated invesigation is passed, it's time to put the case in front of the third article branch and test them to see if Trump's bet that he and Senate Republicans have stuffed the courts with partisan fascists is true because it is almost a certainty if he has then all of the Constitutional framing has fallen in due to unchecked rot.  It's time to find out if it still works, it is time to find out if it needs to be condemned as a hazard to pulbic safety.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Almost Summer Idyll - Hate Mail

I'm tired of the passion of the Rosenbergs.  I don't want to write anymore about it. 

Instead I'll remark how shockingly uniform the thinking of the self-declared "free-thinkers" is.  I'm not the first to notice this.  It's so uniform that any deviation in the program of scientistic materialism - in my experience of them, the uniform ideological holding of "free thought" - will lead to violent anger and banishment if not worse among them.  That was one of the most interesting things about "elevatorgate" and the various "free thoughts" of "free thinkers" which still resonate in such anger and hatred in such circles.  It wasn't that so many of the "free thinkers" turned out to be sexist a-holes, that's always been the case in such circles which are mostly males of a particularly old-fashioned type, it was that it was one of the few examples of difference among them. That it split largely along gender lines, with some outliers on both sides, wasn't that surprising in retrospect.  Atheism, especially its false front of "Skepticism" has always been a boy's club. 

What brings this to mind is a bit of snark about Sr. Simone Campbell referencing a Protestant biblical scholar, theologian and minister, as if that were not either to be expected or allowed.  The lack of uniformity in religious thinking is used both ways by atheists.  Freedom of thought about religion is held to a. be a vice when an atheist wants to point to it as a claim that all religion is false and b. something which is denied to exist when atheists want to claim that religion is opposed to free thought, a mental handcuff, an exercise in brainlessness.  

It is a plain fact that such "free thinkers" feel no need to be consistent or even in their application of principles or to conform their own proclamations to their previously stated stands - so often those stands, themselves, are said out of both sides of their mouths.  Even more remarkable is the percentage of those "free thinking" scientistic materialists who will, even from the platform of the "Free Thought" Blogs declare that free thought, free will, free choice doesn't exist, in my experience of them, generally through a purely and inaccurately ideological reading of this or that scientific experiment which doesn't demonstrate what they claim it does.   That they will, then, go on to claim "free thought" for themselves and their fellow ideologues - who share the same ideology - while denying its possibility doesn't seem to ever seem odd to them.  Which leads me to think that they don't think very deeply.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

"What do you propose instead [of Marxism]?"

Being way overdue to get on with weeding my neglected garden,  I'll recommend what Sr. Simone Campbell had to say in the Global Sisters Report as a good thing to contemplate.

Campbell said politicians and voters — after informing their consciences — need to make "prudential judgments" about how to apply the church's teaching to politics. So do sisters.

For example, Network recently came out in support of the Equality Act, which would strengthen bans on discrimination against LGBT people by adding "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the definition of "sex" in federal civil rights laws. The bishops opposed the bill.

Network also disagreed with the U.S. bishops' conference on the Affordable Care Act, arguing that the bill adequately forbade federal funding of abortion, a position the bishops later adopted when they opposed repeal of the law.

"We've always been here," she said, adding that many progressives have "ceded ground" to the religious right by not publicly connecting their faith and politics. She said some Democrats are "nervous" about religion because they associate it with conservatism.

"Now, what we're having to do is claw back what was always there and claim it in the public space," she said, noting that 2020 presidential candidate and mayor of South Bend Pete Buttigieg, with whom she met while in town, does a good job of talking about religious values.

The biggest issue facing the country, she said, is economic justice.

"Income and wealth disparity is sucking the life out of our nation," she said. "And right now, the approach of the Republican Party is to shift as much money to the top as possible."

Still, Campbell said she believes many voters for President Donald Trump may feel their values are being "pushed out" of the cultural conversation, and she strives for "radical acceptance" of those with whom she disagrees politically.

"If I'm at odds with the God in them, I'm at odds with the God in me," she said.

And more practically, the article continues with this useful advice.

Contemplative lobbying

In two presentations during the three-day event, Campbell shared how her own contemplative practice of daily meditation helps her in the sometimes-discouraging work of advocating for social justice in U.S. policies. She suggested that contemplation is essential to build "prophetic communities" that can work for the common good.

For her, political lobbying is contemplative because it involves "listening deeply, being curious and asking questions" as well as "being willing to risk my preconceptions."

The contemplative life "opens me up to other people's suffering," Campbell said. "And the openness to suffering is where the heart springs into action."

"It is only in community that we can bear the pain of the world," Campbell added, noting that her religious community helps her to stay grounded and able to see how she is "only a piece of the whole."

Such communities that "nurture the prophetic imagination" allow people to "touch the pain of the world as real" and be with that pain without immediately trying to fix it, she said, drawing on work by Protestant theologian Walter Brueggemann.

The practical, what will sustain you and keep you going is of infinite value as the theoretical is almost always useless, except to get you esteem in the do-nothing world of academia and scribbleage. 

Hate Mail - You Know We're In Trouble When We Have To Make Reference To "History" As Learned From Show Biz So Often

These students known to history, insofar as they as they are known to history, as the Lane Rebels, stayed for a time in Cincinnati, teaching black people and helping fugitives, supported by the New York merchant brothers Arthur and Lewis Tappan, until the Tappans found and underwrote this college [Oberlin] for them. The Tappan brothers funded antislavery causes patiently for decades, though they were mobbed and their warehouses were burned to the ground.  Lewis Tappan appears in the movie Amistad as the wan and tremulous fanatic who whispers that he wants the Africans who seized the ship to be killed, in order to advance the cause of abolition.  The film is accurate only in one particular - Lewis Tappan did indeed organize the Africans' defense

Marilynne Robinson:  Who Was Oberlin? 

The lore of the Rosenbergs, which turns out to have been, from the start, founded in blatant lies told by Communists and their dupes and their lawyers, held that both of them were totally innocent.  Unable to sustain that lie for their dupes about Julius, they have transferred all of it to the unlikely claim that Ethel was entirely unaware and uninvolved in the espionage her husband, her brother, very possibly her sister-in-law were involved in as the fall-back position.  That and the traditional, absurdly made claim that Judge Irving Kaufman, unlike the Commies at least a nominally observant Jew, was part of an antisemitic conspiracy to fry the Rosenbergs because they were Jewish is a pious myth of the play-left.  Mostly believed by most of those who have ever even heard of any of this BS because they saw some mention of them in something such as a Woody Allen movie or Next Stop Greenwich Village or heard someone who had read an article in The Nation spouting what it said.  The more intellectual of that clique are the ones who read the article in The Nation.

Why should I hold the slightest interest in believing that Ethel Rosenberg was innocent when I was a victim of that lie told by alleged journalists and scholars of the Marxist left for decades?  They lied to me, I don't trust them. 

I say that even as I admit I loved the fantasy deathbed scene of Roy Cohn and Ethel in Angels in America as done by Streep and Pacino.  I can't claim along with Ethel's ghost that my anger at being lied to is like a star that "burns acid-green" but it's cooled my willingness to go along with maintaining that the people who make such use of the Rosenbergs are to be trusted.  

It's the greatness of Tony Kushner that he presents the figures in more complexity than the myths of the commies and their fellow travelers on the one hand or the fans of Roy Cohn on the other but I'm not going to mistake that for history.  

The greatness of Streep and Pacino in that scene is also useful to show how dangerous the presentation of real historical figures in drama can be.  It took me a long time to learn to not trust my affections for actors as it colored my view of history and historical figures.  Knowing how hard it was for me to overcome that manipulation, I understand why so many of what I mistook as my fellow lefties are unable to do that.  And, as my list of the movie resources of neo-fascist reaction shows, silly play-lefties aren't the only ones dangerously falling for that show-biz BS.   It's better for playwrights and novelists and movie script writers to stick to the strict facts or they should forego using real history and real people because if they exercise any "artistic license" in that they will turn themselves into liars of a provably dangerous type. 

Update:  I absolutely reject the Weavers, Pete Seeger "which side are you on" bullshit.  I AM UNDER NO MORAL OR INTELLECTUAL OBLIGATION TO CHOOSE EITHER "THE ROSENBERGS" OR ROY COHN, which, by the way, in this context means sides, not people.  I CAN REJECT BOTH SIDES, I CAN DISDAIN THEM BOTH OR DESPISE THEM BOTH.   Acceptance may be a binary, yes or no, reject or accept proposition, non-acceptance is done under no such condition of absolute binary choice.  Sometimes even the less objectionable side makes itself  unacceptable, which frequently happens when the "left side" is involved with anti-democratic shit like Marxism. 

"The Leninist antagonism to the most essential features of socialism was evident from the very start."

Most of those lefties of my younger years who maintained a romantic view of Lenin, the Soviet Union, Communism, etc.  Those who held the torch, then the feeble candle for those traditional concerns of such people, the ability of Dalton Trumbo to get a movie credit for the scripts he wrote, the innocence of the Rosenbergs, weren't exactly high-brows or scholars.   Though most of them had college credentials, most of them got whatever they knew about such things from self-interested propagandists, magazine scribblers trying to break into or maintain a position in the tiny little market of lefty scribbling or the equally tiny market of lefty electronic distribution of such lore.*  The true believers are the kind of people who, as I've pointed out, believe historical distortion in such products as The Crucible and Inherit the Wind are historically accurate when they are anything but that.  They're not much brighter than those who have gotten their idea of history from shit like Gone With The Wind, The Pony Express or, in more extreme cases of that fascism that has been called "Americanism" "Americanist", Birth of a Nation.  

The short essay by Noam Chomsky I excerpted yesterday could serve as a very good introduction into the reality of the utter corruption of the various American Communist and associated parties, the real damage they have done to the struggle by the real left, those never taking orders and money from "Russian" dictators and carrying water for them, the people who have had no effect in American politics except to discredit the real left and who, in their post-Communist form, are carrying water for the post-Communist gangster Czar of Russia in all the implication of that accusation.  So I'll excerpt the passages from right before the part I excerpted yesterday. 

The terminology of political and social discourse is vague and imprecise, and constantly debased by the contributions of ideologists of one or another stripe. Still, these terms have at least some residue of meaning. Since its origins, socialism has meant the liberation of working people from exploitation. As the Marxist theoretician Anton Pannekoek observed, “this goal is not reached and cannot be reached by a new directing and governing class substituting itself for the bourgeoisie,” but can only be “realized by the workers themselves being master over production.” Mastery over production by the producers is the essence of socialism, and means to achieve this end have regularly been devised in periods of revolutionary struggle, against the bitter opposition of the traditional ruling classes and the ‘revolutionary intellectuals’ guided by the common principles of Leninism and Western managerialism, as adapted to changing circumstances. But the essential element of the socialist ideal remains: to convert the means of production into the property of freely associated producers and thus the social property of people who have liberated themselves from exploitation by their master, as a fundamental step towards a broader realm of human freedom.

The Leninist intelligentsia have a different agenda. They fit Marx’s description of the ‘conspirators’ who “pre-empt the developing revolutionary process” and distort it to their ends of domination; “Hence their deepest disdain for the more theoretical enlightenment of the workers about their class interests,” which include the overthrow of the Red Bureaucracy and the creation of mechanisms of democratic control over production and social life. For the Leninist, the masses must be strictly disciplined, while the socialist will struggle to achieve a social order in which discipline “will become superfluous” as the freely associated producers “work for their own accord” (Marx). Libertarian socialism, furthermore, does not limit its aims to democratic control by producers over production, but seeks to abolish all forms of domination and hierarchy in every aspect of social and personal life, an unending struggle, since progress in achieving a more just society will lead to new insight and understanding of forms of oppression that may be concealed in traditional practice and consciousness.

The Leninist antagonism to the most essential features of socialism was evident from the very start. In revolutionary Russia, Soviets and factory committees developed as instruments of struggle and liberation, with many flaws, but with a rich potential. Lenin and Trotsky, upon assuming power, immediately devoted themselves to destroying the liberatory potential of these instruments, establishing the rule of the Party, in practice its Central Committee and its Maximal Leaders — exactly as Trotsky had predicted years earlier, as Rosa Luxembourg and other left Marxists warned at the time, and as the anarchists had always understood. Not only the masses, but even the Party must be subject to “vigilant control from above,” so Trotsky held as he made the transition from revolutionary intellectual to State priest. Before seizing State power, the Bolshevik leadership adopted much of the rhetoric of people who were engaged in the revolutionary struggle from below, but their true commitments were quite different. This was evident before and became crystal clear as they assumed State power in October 1917.

That is a pattern of virtually every subsequent self-declared Marxist government and a pattern which virtually no Marxist entity in the United States which gained any traction ever seemed to be much bothered by.   The Marxists' largest contribution, by far, to the history of the 20th century was in service to one or another of the strong-man-gangster regimes in other countries.  In the period up to the 1960s, that was almost uniformly, in the West, to Leninism, then Stalinism, with a splinter faction who took the thug Trotsky's part in the power struggle with Stalin (and who, in large numbers took the tiny baby step into capitalist-fascism) then, as Khrushchev discredited Stalin by a minimalist exposure of his crimes against humanity, went on to a devotion to Maoism even as he was matching or outdoing Stalin in committing murder.   

That is what is on display at the fucking Left Forum later this month, that is what has been on display at every one since it evolved out of an earlier "socialist" forum which, mostly, did a lot of that ideological distortion of the meaning of "socialism" that has made the word political poison to the majority of the American electorate.   I think the baggage of that ideological distortion and the damage  to the label has made it an obstacle to the goals of genuine socialism, a better and more just life for us, for economic justice.  Complaining that that distortion is unfair to the label is nothing but a continued hampering of achieving those goals by democratic means and under a different name.  It was one of the greatest revelations of my reading of Marilynne Robinson that she pointed out there were indigenous American paths for achieving such goals, things which are not "socialism" but which will be far more certain to achieve those goals of, by and FOR THE PEOPLE.  When Lincoln used the word "People" he certainly didn't mean the same thing as the word in the names of so many Communist dictatorships.  He delivered liberation, they were gangsters who only sought their own empowerment and enrichment.  

*  I am interested in the role that the cumbersome process of fact checking the claims of such scribblers for most people when that checking had to take the form of looking stuff up in large libraries through the information retrieval by consulting ink on paper, books, bibliographies, card catalogues - going up and down stairs - played in the naive faith of the readers of such claims in the ink on paper magazines and in phonied up theatrical and movie history.   I can guarantee you that having access to online publication of complete texts of primary source documents, easily found, easily searched by the use of search terms has made an incredibly huge difference in my understanding of these things.  If we survive long enough for the regime of ink on paper to give way to effective training of that former mid-brow ersatz intelligentsia, the old myths of the old left are totally unsustainable.  I am very relieved to find that my more intellectual nieces are not as susceptible to buying into that garbage as I was.  Marxism is dead, it's not wanted anywhere where people had a real experience of it.  Those who held its torch here were of most use to those who used them as a foil to attack traditional American liberalism.   Such young people may be more open to the slogan "democratic socialism" but they should never fool themselves that they constitute an effective majority or a margin of the electorate that can swing most elections.  They can't even manage to win an election in Britain where the word has been less damaged and seem to be failing in one place after another in Europe, too. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Hate Mail - Knowing We Were Deceived, I Don't Care Anymore

No, I didn't bother looking to see if the Left Forum has, finally, decided to let go of claiming that the Rosenbergs or even just Ethel got framed.  Even their sons admit that Julius was the Stalin spy he was accused of being and if anyone was to blame for Ethel being unjustly framed for something she didn't do, it was him and, possibly, higher-ups in the Communist establishment who ordered them to not talk.  As far as I'm concerned, he and quite possibly she have the same moral status as spies for Hitler or Hirohito.  The extent to which she is responsible for her end is unknowable unless we know what she knew and there isn't any way to know that unless direct evidence of that surfaces and I wouldn't even care about it then.  There are numerable cases of unjustly convicted, unjustly imprisoned and unjustly executed people that don't get any notice.  I'd rather concentrate on more recent ones of those.    

But just think of all of the theatrical wailing and moaning and lying and posing over those deaths - in the past, just about all of it now discredited by the lie that they were both framed when we now know that was a lie in at least his case.  I think we've given the first couple of atomic spying more than enough of our time.   There's no one left to hold accountable now that her brother is dead.  And I don't care. 

Update:  We've been through this before.   I am absolutely opposed to capital punishment, the Rosenbergs shouldn't have been executed.  Neither should have Troy Davis, Claude Jones, George Stinney Jr, . . . who, unlike at least Julius Rosenberg and not beyond question Ethel Rosenberg, were not guilty of the crimes they were convicted and murdered by the state for.  I wonder if any of those names were ever mentioned at any Left Forum.

I will also mention that, though it's certainly true that Judge Kaufman was hardly admirable in his conduct of the case and Roy Cohn was scum, the crimes the Rosenbergs were convicted of were done on behalf of the Stalin regime in the 1940s, well after his infamous show trials were not only known in the West, they were supported by the Communist Party that Julius Rosenberg and, as I recall, Ethel Rosenberg belonged to, many a Communist and "lefty" signed petitions of support for Stalin's show trials conducted by people who made Kaufman's conduct of the trial look like justice.  If the Rosenbergs had been put on trial in their idea of a worker's paradise and been totally and even obviously innocent, they'd have been convicted - if there were even a trial, which isn't anything like certain - and shot or tortured to death to get them to give up names.  It would have probably been part of a program to set off a pogrom which, in fact, Stalin was starting against Jews during the very years that the Rosenbergs were on trial. 

The repeated use of the 5th Amendment by the Rosenbergs during their questioning and trial is an even sharper contrast to "justice" under the dictator Julius worked for along with, certainly Ethel Rosenberg's brother and, I wouldn't be surprised, she did.  I doubt the things that would have happened right under her nose would not have been known to her.  

As to the claim that Judge Irving Kaufman was corrupt, that is certainly open to debate.  I think he conducted this trail badly and I believe he had career motives in doing that.  Though, as it happened, that worked against his greatest desire, to be appointed to the Supreme Court.  

I will note that, appointed to his seat by Truman and after the Rosenberg case he was nominated by President Kennedy to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and confirmed by the Democratically controlled Senate in 1961.  He was hardly a hard right winger.  Some of his decisions are seen as progressive.  

He was the trial judge in the case that led to the decision in  Irving Berlin et al. v. E.C. Publications, Inc, that established the right of MAD magazine and others to create parodies of pop songs.

He was part of the three-judge panel that prevented the Nixon administration from deporting John Lennon, highly critical of the government for using the law to try to silence criticism of it.

He helped establish the right of those tortured elsewhere to sue in American courts in the Filártiga v. Peña-Irala case.  

He greatly expanded the right to plead innocent by reason of insanity in the case, United States v. Freeman, which probably saved more than a few lives. 

I can't say that I greatly admire Irving Kaufman, but the charge that he was corrupt is probably an exaggeration.  They certainly didn't think so in the Kennedy administration and the Senate in 1961.  I doubt I'd have liked him but as judges go, he was far from the worst. 

The idea that the Rosenbergs were victims of antisemitism is ludicrous, considering both Kaufman and Cohn were Jewish and especially considering the fact that Julius Rosenberg was certainly guilty of the crime he was convicted of and Ethel certainly didn't help herself by refusing to testify honestly as to what she knew.  As I said, considering who it was they and their close associates were supporting, Stalin, I'm not inclined to feel all that sorry for them. Though, as I said, neither of them should have been executed.  And there were lots of other people put to death in 1953, none of whom should have been executed, none of whom I would imagine, the Left Forum poured over decades after they were killed by the state.  And lots since then.  Lots of them still on death row, some estimates as high as 4% of those are totally innocent.  I'd rather concentrate on preventing their executions than rehashing the old lies of the old left about those two. 

Update 2:  The accusation that I fail to care, sufficiently, for the execution of a "commie woman" is funny because I'm absolutely certain that the hero of the Communist Party of the United States during those years, Stalin, killed hundreds and hundreds of times more Communists than were executed in the United States, many of them as Stalin liquidated just about all of his surviving fellow revolutionaries in those show trials that so many heroes of the Communist friendly left supported with their signatures on those petitions I mention above.  We've been through that, too, as I pointed out the poseur of the Red Scare era, Lillian Hellman and her boyfriend, Daschel Hammett did.  I don't have any respect for people who made excuses for democidalist killers in the same league with Hitler and Mao.  They are the moral equal of the supporters of Hitler.

About The Only Thing You Can Learn From The Left Forum Is Why Its Kind Of "Left" Will Always Work Against Democracy

When you go to the 2019 Left Forum page, when you scroll past the masthead and get into the description of the "sessions," the first image you see is

 this picture of Lenin to decorate the listing of their first posted "session" Lenin: His Works' Pertinence Here and Now, as will be expressed in the words and thoughts of of Richard D. Wolff, Chris L Hedges, Laura Flanders, Tim Schermerhorn   The last one, Tim Schermerhorn is the only one I hadn't ever heard of, Wolff being what counts as a ubiquitous presence in the obscurity of current Marxism in the English speaking world, a Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Visiting Professor at the New School University in New York City who scribbles books and apparently has a TV show about economics which I'd never heard of before and which I doubt gets much viewing.  

Hedges and Flanders are, I would guess if I had to, what might pass as better known, getting marginal airtime on the big cabloid networks, Hedges being the somewhat admirable and honored former war reporter but who, I'm convinced, is rather shell shocked and who mostly, these days, is a discouraging prophet of doom.  In other words, these three I knew of because they're of the professional scribbling-chattering class of the kind who really have marginal skin in the actual world of laboring People but who have endless ideas about what should happen to them.  The class that it is unsurprising to find are still holding the torch for Lenin and the coming of the Communist regime in Russia and, as Lenin and his successors violently imposed it, the Soviet Union.  That is when about the only place in the world where a government is holding the torch for Lenin may be such places as North Korea.  What Lenin was, was the first in a series of mob bosses who racked up one of the highest body counts of any modern country, outdone, perhaps, by China under the Communists, and Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan, the Mongol hoard in medieval times perhaps outdoing them and the European colonial efforts in the Americas, Australia, Africa, Asia.  

What's odd about the group is the one which is not like the others, Tim Schermerhorn, of whom his Left Forum bio says:   

Tim Schermerhorn is a retired train operator and member of TWU Local 100. A rank and file organizer, Tim was a founding member of the Hell on Wheels newsletter and the New Directions Caucus. He now works with Democracy at Work New York and is on the board of Labor Notes.

If there is anything that Lenin was not it was the working Person's friend, a friend of independent unions - he and Trotsky et al crushed the start of those in Russia and the Soviet Union and its occupied European and Asian satellites and, ironically, for all time, anything of socialism that was coherently  consistent with democracy.  While I have my differences with Noam Chomsky, this passage from this article is quite a good description of what Lenin and Trotsky did to unions and working people.

A historian sympathetic to the Bolsheviks, E.H. Carr, writes that “the spontaneous inclination of the workers to organize factory committees and to intervene in the management of the factories was inevitably encouraged by a revolution which led the workers to believe that the productive machinery of the country belonged to them and could be operated by them at their own discretion and to their own advantage” (my emphasis). For the workers, as one anarchist delegate said, “The Factory committees were cells of the future… They, not the State, should now administer.”

But the State priests knew better, and moved at once to destroy the factory committees and to reduce the Soviets to organs of their rule. On November 3, Lenin announced in a “Draft Decree on Workers’ Control” that delegates elected to exercise such control were to be “answerable to the State for the maintenance of the strictest order and discipline and for the protection of property.” As the year ended, Lenin noted that “we passed from workers’ control to the creation of the Supreme Council of National Economy,” which was to “replace, absorb and supersede the machinery of workers’ control” (Carr). “The very idea of socialism is embodied in the concept of workers’ control,” one Menshevik trade unionist lamented; the Bolshevik leadership expressed the same lament in action, by demolishing the very idea of socialism.

Soon Lenin was to decree that the leadership must assume “dictatorial powers” over the workers, who must accept “unquestioning submission to a single will” and “in the interests of socialism,” must “unquestioningly obey the single will of the leaders of the labour process.” As Lenin and Trotsky proceeded with the militarization of labour, the transformation of the society into a labour army submitted to their single will, Lenin explained that subordination of the worker to “individual authority” is “the system which more than any other assures the best utilization of human resources” — or as Robert McNamara expressed the same idea, “vital decision-making… must remain at the top… the real threat to democracy comes not from overmanagement, but from undermanagement”; “if it is not reason that rules man, then man falls short of his potential,” and management is nothing other than the rule of reason, which keeps us free. At the same time, ‘factionalism’ — i.e., any modicum of free expression and organization — was destroyed “in the interests of socialism,” as the term was redefined for their purposes by Lenin and Trotsky, who proceeded to create the basic proto-fascist structures converted by Stalin into one of the horrors of the modern age.

You might want to compare Chomsky's piece with this load of hagiographic crap from the "Trade Union Educational League," in 1924.*  

But this is a piece about the absurd waste of time and counterproductive heap of bull shit that the Left Forum is and has been.  Considering the political character of the regime that Lenin imposed on the lands he lorded over, preparing the way for Stalin's more developed terror state, it is putridly disgusting that the next item in the list of "sessions" at the 2019 Left Forum is Election Integrity: Publicly Verified Elections and Informed Public Are Key to De-Corrupting Our Democracy!   For any bunch of play-lefties to be holding up Lenin and "His Works' Pertinence Here and Now" to have the gall to then go on to lecture Americans about democratic elections is disgustingly hypocritical.  If there is one thing that Lenin was entirely against, it was democracy, especially what might have been understood, even then, as democratic socialism.  Something which makes me wonder if another clearly Commie sponsored session later in the conference Trotskyist Youth in the Fight for Socialist Revolution vs. "Sanders Socialism" has more to do with the idiocy represented in the likes of the "Trade Union Educational League" and its history of typical commie infighting, especially with anyone who has any possibility of winning a single Senate seat, something which Sanders actually, though rather idiosyncratically managed and which is nothing like anything any member of the sponsoring organizations," Internationalist Group, Revolutionary Internationalist Youth" have done or will ever do.   I wouldn't be surprised if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez isn't slammed in that session by the, I'll bet, less than two dozen members of those groups.  I am confident in predicting no one not in those groups will attend the session. 

I didn't feel like pouring through the entire contents of the Left Forum's 2019 sessions to see what unintended rather bitter comedy will, no doubt abound there.  I will say that in 2019, after a hundred and two years of seeing Communism, especially Leninism in action, anyone who holds a torch for it is the moral equivalent of a Holocaust denier, a neo-Nazi.   And I say that having had some respect for at least Chris Hedges from that group, back before I came to conclude he was shell shocked.   Any "left" that holds up anything like a candle for Soviet Communism is a self-discrediting heap of shit that we on a left that might make things better need, absolutely need to throw on the garbage heap of history or we have no one to blame for the century worth of discrediting of the real left continuing into a second one, but ourselves.   These people are not our comrades, they are not our friends, they are not any burden we can get to do anything but drag us down and defeat us.  The struggle against fascism, against corporate gangsterism can't afford to coddle or tolerate their presence. We've got to get shut of them in all of their delusion and scribbling-babbling class idiocy. 

I didn't poke around to see what the Putin fixture of the Green Party, Jill Stein was doing that got her in the rogues gallery of photos of participants that moved across the Left Forum 2019 site.  If Lenin was a fitting symbol for the history of counter-productive, hypocritical and thuggish lies of the play-left, there is no more fitting symbol and symptom of it in contemporary terms than Jill Stein, so infamously the table mate of Putin and Michael Flynn at the celebratory dinner for the Putin crime regime propaganda outlet RT after she helped deliver the election to Putin's guy, Trump.  Any "left" that has anything to do with her is a left that is probably taking money from the same people who funded that effort. 

*  Poking around in the baroque complex that is the history of Communist-"socialist" and other lefty organizations in the United States, the risings and falling and infighting and ideological posturing and opposing AND THE TOTAL AND ABSOLUTE DISASTER THEY WERE FOR ACCOMPLISHING ANYTHING EXCEPT HAMPERING AND DISCREDITING THE ACTUAL LEFT, can lead to you reading something like the program of the Left Forum in this almost new century with different eyes.  It can also make you rather allergic to the academic and journalistic "left" and the cult members of various commie and other "parties" and "groups" of maybe scores or dozens of members who organize and staff these "sessions".